Monday, June 15, 2009

Reading Challenge: Acts 12

Welcome back everyone. I hope everyone had a great weekend. We continue in our Acts reading with Acts 12. We are going to cover some ground this week, so be sure to read carefully and comment if you so desire. 

Wow, there are lots of things happening in this chapter. It begins with the death of James, the brother of John (the beloved disciple). James was part of the inner circle of Jesus and he is the first of the 11 faithful disciples that has died for being a follower of the Way. Peter is then arrested, but has a miraculous experience happen as an angel appears before him and rescues him. Why is Peter rescued and James not? These are questions we will never have answers to. Perhaps Peter's mission from God had not been accomplished? Either way, Peter escapes and continues his mission of making Christ known. 

The part that may have stuck out to me the most was the death of Herod Agrippa. It says that Herod was struck down dead because he accepted the worship of other humans, instead of giving glory to God. How much of this happens in our world today? Athletes, musicians, PASTOR'S, and others often accept the praise and worship of others instead of deflecting it to God. In what ways have you failed to deflect worship from you back to God?

I'd love to hear your thoughts and take-aways.


  1. "...but prayer for him was being made fervently by the church to God."

    A key to the earlier church's testimony and faithfulness was their belief that God heard and answered their prayers. Even when the Scriptures shows us that it suprised them at times. ( verse 15 )

    Perhaps we should pray more fervently and let the Surprises Come!

  2. That angel of the Lord sure is busy;breaking Peter out of jail for the second time!Strange how this time the angel breaks him out and leads him to a point and then just leaves without giving Peter any direction for the next step.It's like God was giving him some down time to be alone to deal with his loss.It is curious that God allows John's brother James to be killed and spares Peter.Maybe it was so the church would learn to pray in real earnest.Maybe it was like with John the Baptist;(his death marked the beginning of Jesus' ministry), or maybe because Jesus had made the promise to Peter that he would build his church and Peter would have the keys?I don't know,God's ways are not always explainable.
    It must have been a real blow to the early church to lose a pastor and Peter's release would have been an encouragement that God was still in control. Herod's sudden and very gross death is further evidence of this fact.Sometimes you hear of a missionary or a real soul-winner being taken at a time when it seems they have only just begun a ministry or when so much is being accomplished and you wonder why? Why them? They were so good and had done so much for God?But then, more people come forward to pick up the torch and more people are reached as a result.Maybe that is it, because the last verse tells where Barnabus and Saul come into town.
    Like Elder James said about prayer needing to be fervent.To me that means expecting God to answer and trying not to be too suprised when He does.

  3. I think that James and Laurie hit the nail on the head. This entire chapter, to me, speaks about the power of prayer. I'm sure the church would've prayed for James, as well, if he had been merely arrested as Peter had been. But Herod had just ordered him killed, not arrested.

    We often speak of the power of prayer, but do we REALLY believe in it. I think often times people either choose to ignore, or forget, because so many times God doesn't give us the answer that we were looking for. This shouldn't diminish our view of God's power, though sadly, it often does. We are such a consumer world that if we don't get what WE wanted, then we choose to say, "God didn't answer my prayer". As you, Erik, spoke yesterday about, sometimes it is those instances where the "Gospel" provides us a way to grow closer with God, not to just have our wishes granted. I believe this in turn goes to the question.... "What, or who, do you worship?" The flip side of that, though, is when the church DOES earnestly pray about something, God does hear our cry and often chooses, out of His compassion and love for us, to grant our wishes. We see this, obviously, with Peter. And we, the Journey have seen this as well. I know of at least one instance where we, the church, earnestly have prayed for healing of someone, and our prayer was granted. We've witnessed God literally remove a sickness from someone. Praise be to HIM!

    Herod obviously had issues with who he worshiped. Or what he worshiped, whatever the case. The fact is... it wasn't Yahweh. We know that if you worship the Father, then when you receive praise and honor from others, you WILL deflect it back to God. It's part of your D.N.A. at that point. But, make no mistake, we can all still fall into the trap. It takes us being obedient, and constantly submitting our will to Him, for that transformation to take place in our lives.

    And that's all I got to say about that!

  4. Is it possible that Jesus predicted this death for James way back in Matthew Chapter 20 when James and John were asked if they could drink from the same cup Jesus would drink from? They said they would be able to and Jesus said "you will drink from it".

    I love how Luke makes sure we are aware that there can be only one true King of the Jews (i.e. Messiah)and that's Jesus. And also that even though Herod may have the temporary crown, God will take it anytime He wants it.

  5. Great thoughts everyone! Todd, I love your point about how God can pull down any leader, king, or emperor...Jesus is the worlds only true LORD and ruler

  6. I have nothing to add to the intelligent thoughts of other posters. However, I couldn't help but think, "what a way to go," when Herod, in front of all of admirers, "was eaten by worms and died." That's just rough!

  7. Nothing to really add...just what stood out to not taking credit for God's work...I think it also speaks to not giving God what is His...such as Annanias and Saphira (sp?)...they were struck dead for lying and not giving to God what was rightfully His....Herod was struck dead for not giving God the glory and credit...

    I think this is something we all deal with...we assume that since we are a Christian people will know that it is God...well sometimes they are blinded and we need to actually speak forth that it is God doing the work and not us!